By Thaís Britto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The third largest ‘bairro’ or neighborhood in Rio, Campo Grande is a place of striking contrasts and rich culture.
Thousands of stores turn the main streets into busy through-fares, yet Campo Grande has enormous undeveloped areas, surrounded by the Parque da Pedra Branca (White Rock Park), with waterfalls, trails and some of the purest air in town.
Campo Grande’s residents claim to feel safe, apart from the main avenues, the area is quiet and residential, with children playing outside and parents chatting. The neighborhood does shelter some armed gangs though, and the policemen who fight favela drug dealers.
Most residents don’t venture into Rio’s Centro or Zona Sul very often, as the city center is 45 kilometers away. The best way to get there is to take Avenida Brasil and transportation is an issue, there are not enough buses and many are not well maintained. Most people use the rail network, but the trains also have their problems.
Campo Grande’s natural delights include fresh water swimming pools, waterfalls and easy trails. Any good day out in Campo Grande should include a visit to above mentioned Parque da Pedra Branca. The best access to the Park is on Estrada do Cabuçu, in a place called Rio da Prata (Silver River).
This spot is one of the more pleasant of the neighborhood, full of restaurants and bars. One of them is Bar do Zezinho, uniquely located in the woods. It’s just some tables and chairs set up beside the owners’ house, but expect cold beer and tasty appetizers, matched with a great view.
Around Rio da Prata, seafood lovers should try Casa da Dirce. The restaurant relies on homemade flavors to win diners with their delicious “pastéis” and soups. For more excitement, Bar Mistura is just a few meters away. Their musical events go from rock to electronic music and also include forró and other typical Brazilian rhythms.
Another good option for nightlife is Espaço Up. The bar/club is known for its drinks and sometimes hosts alternative rock concerts. The video store Cinéfila is worth visiting. It is the meeting point for cinema-lovers and rock’n’roll fans, with film clubs and a happening cafe.
Two of the best bars are Bar Verbo and Botequim Modesto. The first one is a project from 3 siblings who couldn’t find anywhere interesting in the neighborhood and decided to create their own destination. It fast became a hit. Good music, a pool table and specialty drinks are their main draws. Botequim Modesto is more traditional and caters to a mature audience. They have feijoada on Sundays and a jukebox that plays old Brazilian songs.
Among all West Zone neighborhoods, Campo Grande is the fastest growing. Large-scale building construction is taking place and luxury condominiums are going up. The distance from downtown keeps prices low. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment ranges from R$300 to R$700, depending on location and size.
Buying a simple two-bedroom apartment in Campo Grande costs between R$50,000 and R$100,000. The price for a luxury condo is higher, yet still reasonable: from R$120,000 to R$200,000. Some of the companies with projects in the area are Enes, Zayd and Lopes.
– Casa da Dirce – Estrada do Cabuçu 4.803
– Bar Mistura – Largo do Rio da Prata 42
– Espaço Up – Estrada Guandu Sapê 56
– Cinéfila – Estrada do Campinho 1.309
– Bar Verbo – Estrada do Monteiro 2.035
– Botequim Modesto – Estrada do Cabuçu 1.010